Fourteen Customs officers have graduated after completing four months of training.
The average grade was 83 percent, according to a press release.
At the graduation ceremony on March 10, the following individuals received their certificates: Stephen Anderson, Vannasa Bailey, Prisilla Berry, Eddree Fisher, Leonard Hydes, George Jackson, Miguel McFarlane, Christopher McField, Colbert Miller, Marcia Myles, Jessie Peynado, Everett Smith, Teresa Watler and Kishana Whittaker, the press release stated.
Mr. Anderson, class valedictorian, was recognized as the Best Overall Student and for Best Academic Performance, the latter for achieving an individual average of 97 percent in three assessments and four stage tests throughout the training course.
Ms. Berry was awarded for Best Academic Paper for communicating with credibility, confidence and clear analysis in her 3,000-word paper and 20-minute oral presentation.
Ms. Myles received the Customer Service Award. Most Improved Student award went to Mr. Miller. Ms. Whittaker received the Class Captain award.
On hand to present the awards and certificates were Acting Governor Franz Manderson, Financial Secretary and Chief Officer Kenneth Jefferson, Assistant Financial Secretary Anne Owens, Collector of Customs Charles Clifford, Deputy Collector Marlon Bodden and Assistant Collector Lisa Kelly, the release stated.
Mr. Manderson advised the graduates to serve the government with passion, courtesy and consistently high-level customer service.
Mr. Jefferson noted that in the line of duty, they would be tested by a gamut of behaviors from the arriving public. He asked them to master the principles behind the rules they will have to apply to the ever-changing situations they encounter daily on the job.
Ms. Owens underscored that some 160 Customs officers collect and protect 20 percent of the government’s revenue and help protect the country’s borders.
The graduates were told that in 2016, the department collected $161 million in revenue, $10 million more than projected.
Six of the graduates are former police officers.
Deputy Collector Bodden told the graduates to remain focused for more training in the “school of experience” and on their choice of a noble and worthy profession.
“Don’t be afraid to look back but try to look forward with the advantage of experience,” he added.
Mr. Anderson acknowledged that their “top-notch” trainers had focused on job training as well as personal development and overall welfare.
He noted, “From day one you taught us the motto, ‘No one left behind’ and showed us what was expected of a leader by assigning weekly a class captain.”